The new campus will be the university’s second in Gloucester, and it has three in Cheltenham, seven miles away. The main Park campus, a mile from the centre of Cheltenham, houses the business, education and professional studies faculty. Art and design facilities are closer to the town centre at Francis Close Hall. Nearby Hardwick has photography and fine art studios as well as its own gallery. Recent upgrades at the Cheltenham sites have added a biomedical laboratory as well as an architecture studio and community teaching space. The purpose-built Oxstalls campus in the centre of Gloucester caters for business, healthcare, sport and exercise sciences.
On the edge of the Cotswolds’ Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Gloucestershire became a university in 2001, having begun as a teacher-training college. Its primary and secondary teacher-training courses are rated “outstanding” by Ofsted. It was rated silver in the Teaching Excellence Framework for its integrated approach to enhancing employability through volunteering and placements. The "Your Future Plan" team operates at all of the university’s campuses, offering careers and employability services such as a mentoring programme, placement opportunities and keynote speakers.
Having fared better than many other universities in terms of student satisfaction during the pandemic, Gloucestershire has tumbled downhill in our analysis of the results of the latest National Student Survey, published in summer 2022. It topples 50 places to 103rd for student satisfaction with teaching quality and falls 44 places to 106th for satisfaction with the wider undergraduate experience.
Gloucestershire’s curriculum gains nine new degrees in September 2023, including audio engineering, nutrition, sport coaching and performance analysis, zoology, and construction project management. Face-to-face teaching is back as the main delivery system, after the university canvassed student opinion. Recordings of lectures and presentations are also available on a virtual learning platform.
The university’s degree apprenticeship provision was rated “good” by Ofsted in March 2022. Its portfolio of options spans 21 programmes, with about 1,000 learners enrolled. Among them are programmes to train cybersecurity technical professionals, healthcare science practitioners (ophthalmology), registered nurses, and digital marketers.
The university offers diplomas in environmentalism, sustainability research and development projects that bring together researchers from around the world, undertaking work for agencies such as Unesco. Its Countryside and Community Research Institute on the Oxtalls campus is the largest rural research centre in the UK and produced some of Gloucestershire’s best results in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021). Art and design also performed well. Overall, 47 per cent of the university’s submission was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent, the top two categories. Gloucestershire doubled the number of subject areas assessed, compared with the previous REF in 2014. The university slid three places to joint 111th in our research rankings in a year of improving performance across the sector.
About half of each year’s entrants qualify for some form of financial aid, from the academic merit scholarship of £400 a year awarded to new students who achieve 128 Ucas tariff points or better to the care leavers scholarship of up to £6,625 per year for three years.
The university sits in 31st place in our social inclusion rankings for England and Wales, with an intake overwhelmingly from non-selective state schools (92.8 per cent). The intake includes 47.2 per cent of students who are the first in their family to attend university.
More than 20 sports scholarships are awarded each year, not only to student athletes but also to talented student coaches and officials. A strong sporting tradition is supported by extensive facilities at Oxstalls Sports Park and in Cheltenham. Students have the run of an indoor and outdoor tennis centre, a cold water therapy pool, playing fields, international-standard 3G pitches for rugby and football, fitness suites, a sports hall and cricket pavilion. The university’s sporting alumni include Lizzie Yarnold, the double Olympic skeleton gold medallist, and Ruaridh McConnochie, the former England rugby international.
Gloucester makes an accommodation guarantee to all first-years, including those who arrive via Clearing (about 15 per cent of the intake in 2021). Spa town Cheltenham offers nightlife within a honey-toned Cotswold setting and the Gloucestershire countryside hosts more than 45 music, arts and science and festivals each year, such as the Wychwood, 2000 Trees and the Cheltenham Literature Festival.